During my first year at university training to be an adult nurse I have had a number of clinical placements in a variety of specialties from out of branch placements to core hospital placements such as an orthopaedic elective ward.
Having the chance to do an assortment of placements has allowed me to see which specialties appeal and which don’t. For each individual student this will vary depending on what you are looking for in your future role as a nurse. Not only has it given me insight into possible career options but I’ve also gained priceless experience in numerous settings and sub specialties.
For me, my orthopaedic placement opened my eyes to a new speciality I had not considered before. During my placement I got the chance to encounter a range of learning environments allowing me to see the variety a job in this specialty would allow in a day’s work.
I experienced ward rounds, handover, patient care, theatre and clinics in both elective and trauma orthopaedics. The variety was amazingly appealing to me, as is the chance to have a diverse working day. Having the chance to spend time in theatre was brilliant. Watching orthopaedic surgery gave me a greater understanding of the anatomy and physiology involved.
However, unfortunately my future career decision is not quite that simple, as orthopaedics has not been the only specialty that my clinical placements have made me consider pursuing as a career option.
Practice and district nursing appeals massively too as my time spent there has shown me the true challenge that this role can offer. From one appointment to the next you have no idea who will walk through your clinic door, whether they will be a newborn or a 90 year old, whether they have a leg ulcer or are a cancer patient.
As a community nurse you have access to only the most basic tests and therefore are required to diagnose and treat using your clinical knowledge, history taking and examination skills. This was particularly highlighted when, as part of my clinical placements, I observed and assisted both a practice nurse and district nurse.
So for me, my clinical placements in both orthopaedics and community nursing have influenced my potential future careers.
However with a couple more years of clinical placements to go who knows what other specialties may appeal, maybe I have yet to encounter my future post in nursing.
Cerys David is a first year nursing student at the University of Chester.